Military aircraft dives into house in Java; three dead

Officials taking away wreckage from a military plane that crashed into a house in a densely populated area in Malang, East Java, yesterday while on a test flight from the local air force base.
Officials taking away wreckage from a military plane that crashed into a house in a densely populated area in Malang, East Java, yesterday while on a test flight from the local air force base.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

MALANG (Indonesia) • An Indonesian military plane crashed into a house in a densely populated area during a test flight, killing the pilot and two people in the building, an air force official said.

The Super Tucano turboprop came down at 10.30am local time yesterday, shortly after taking off from Abdul Rachman Saleh air force base at Malang in East Java, said base commander Djoko Senoputro.

The pilot as well as two civilians, a woman and a man, were killed in the accident, he said.

"After doing a test flight for about 45 minutes, we lost contact with the plane soon after they were requesting descent," he said.

"We received reports from people that the plane was seen crashing into a house and is buried in the debris."

An eyewitness said the light attack and trainer aircraft was climbing before it plunged into the residential area. It crashed very hard, emitting thick smoke and a strong smell of petrol, he said.

"I evacuated a man and a woman whose bodies were buried in the rubble of their own house," said Mr Agus, a rescuer.

The plane's engineer has not been located. An official from the Search and Rescue Office in East Java said rescuers were still searching for the missing crew member.

A chair from the plane was thrown about 2km from the wreckage, he added.

The air force said it would conduct an investigation into the crash, which is the latest of several military aviation accidents.

In December last year, two pilots were killed when a military plane crashed in Central Java while performing manoeuvres.

Last June, a Hercules C-130 crashed into a residential neighbourhood in Medan, Sumatra island, killing 142 people and causing widespread destruction.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 11, 2016, with the headline 'Military aircraft dives into house in Java; three dead'. Print Edition | Subscribe